Thai Airways Royal Silk Class Review

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Thai Airways is one of a group of airlines which has been undoubtedly instrumental in setting the standards for premium long haul carriers and service. It has always boasted a safe, modern fleet, excellent in-flight service, and a friendly professional staff on the ground and in the air. In recent years, however, competition has been heating up in the skies in recent years, with premium services launching between Australia, Asia and beyond to Europe, with airlines such as Qatar, Etihad and Emirates in particular upping the ante. I’ve flown Thai Airways several times in the past both in economy and business classes, and found its service impressive. But the premium classes, in particular premium economy and business, are where a number of airlines are investing big bucks, so on this flight I was curious to see how Thai's Royal Silk Class stacked up against some of the competition.

The Airline: Thai Airways.

The Flight: TG476 Sydney to Bangkok.

The Equipment: Boeing 747-400.

Cabin: Business, Seat 25B.

Check In:

Check-in was quick and relatively trouble-free and speedy, and I was soon on my way through security and immigration, and then heading for the lounge. Thai Airways uses the Air New Zealand lounge in Sydney, which is located on the 2nd level of the Departure Hall airside. It's a large facility seating 280 people, with plenty of seating in an open-plan arrangement, a few televisions dotted around, light refreshments and a decent bar. There are plenty of magazines and newspapers for entertainment, internet access, and facilities including five showers.

The Service:

The service throughout the nine-hour-25-minute flight was swift, friendly and efficient. Nothing was too much trouble, from finding an extra pillow to prop up my bung shoulder, to bringing plenty of water for in-flight hydration.

The Food:

My flight departed promptly at 10am, and I’d already eaten breakfast in the lounge. Not long after take-off, however, I was offered a welcome drink, fresh nuts and a menu to peruse. Then came lunch. The wine list was decent, with plenty of choices, and the food was excellent with nice Asian touches. I particularly liked the Thai fishcakes appetiser.

The Seat & Entertainment:

My flight was on a 747-400 with a three-class configuration - Economy, Royal Silk and Royal First. On this aircraft there were 10 seats in Royal First, 40 in Royal Silk, and 325 in Economy. The business class seats are divided between the upper and main deck and run across the cabin in two pairs. My seat was 25B which was an aisle seat on the lower deck, just ahead of the gap between business and economy. The cabin decor is bright and airy, with accents of the rich purple hue for which Thai's livery is famous. Royal Silk Class shell seats are angle-flat seats with a 170 degree recline - they're not fully lie flat. That makes them good for relaxing but not serious sleeping, but as my flight was operating during the day that wasn't a problem. The seat does, however, come with a good entertainment system and a decent selection of movies, music and games. All of the seats also have PC power outlets and USB outlets, should you feel unable to leave the office while you fly.

The Verdict:

This was an excellent flight, but without a total lie-flat seat it would not have been as comfortable had it been an overnight flight. That aside, Thai has always provided quality service throughout its aircraft, and when it comes to business class travel, it's still in the game.

For more information on Thai Airways, visit

Ben Hall